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Back Care Awareness Week – Back Pain in Education

Posted on 2nd October 2017 by

The annual Back Care Awareness Week, run by BackCare, the UK’s leading charity for those impacted by back or neck pain, is to take place between 2 and 6 October. The theme this year is Back Pain in Education.

Back pain is one of the top common causes of absence from work throughout the country. It costs the UK economy around £15 billion every year as over four million working days are lost as a result of the condition. Furthermore, about 80% of the UK population will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

BackCare decided it was important to run a campaign targeted at children and young people as many of the back and neck pain problems experienced by adults are due to them not looking after their backs during childhood and teenage years.

Back pain
The image here, that BackPain have promoted has the message ‘Don’t pick up heavy things’. There’s nothing wrong with picking up something heavy! In all our years as Physiotherapists, I don’t recall we’ve ever seen a young patient who’s injured their back by picking up something too heavy!

Dr Brian Hammond, the Chair of BackCare said: “Early teaching of children and young people of the importance of taking care of their backs is bound to have a positive effect on the health of their backs as adults.”

He added: “There are simple things children and young people can do, such as sitting properly and not for too long, exercising regularly, stretching and lifting correctly. They also need to know how to carry their school books and equipment in a way that does not harm their back or neck.”

Why we somewhat disagree with this years message!

However, leading Physiotherapists and the latest research will tend to disagree with some of the points raised in this campaign. Although we agree that education and empowering people with understanding and knowledge of taking care of their bodies from a young age is crucial, implying that they can damage their spines by doing normal, everyday tasks like carrying a school bag, is a myth. These messages can lead to an unnecessary fear, which can then progress into adulthood.

Research is suggesting that there isn’t a ‘perfect posture’ or ‘best way to carry a bag’. So implying that young children can ‘harm’ their back or neck in these ways isn’t a positive message to put across.

This image sums up perfectly how children should be caring for their backs – not focusing on correct postures or harmful habits – moving regularly!

Kids perfect posture

So what messages should we be sharing?

  • Exercise and movement is the key – youngsters should be encouraged and supported to take part in a wide variety of exercise, sport and activities that encourage regular, whole body movement that they enjoy! It doesn’t really matter what it is, but enjoyment and instilling a lifelong, love of being active is the best way to prevent developing any back problems.
  • Move regularly – our bodies aren’t designed to be still. It’s not the posture that’s the problem, but staying in single positions for too long that can lead to issues. So, when you read about issues such as ‘text neck’, it tends to be the duration that people are using their devices in, in a single, sustained position that can cause issues. If you held a so called ‘perfect posture’ for any sustained length of time, this could cause issues!
  • Don’t be afraid of pain – aches and pains can be a normal everyday occurrence. We can all feel a bit of stiffness, aching, muscle soreness etc. But pain doesn’t always equal damage. Particularly with back pain, being afraid of the pain tends to lead to us being overly protective, not moving as much, which in turn can cause more pain. It’s a vicious circle. As long as there are no indications to be concerned that something more serious is going on to cause the pain (trauma, pins & needles or numbness, problems going to the toilet, pain at night for example – if any of these are present, it’s advised to see your GP ASAP), then we need to install the confidence that the pain is OK.
  • Be careful with the language we use – particularly with children, the words we use if they’re in pain can be very influential. Negative words like harm, damage, out of place, torn, can all create very negative messages. We need to focus on positive messages like strong and active. Being overly focused on carrying things correctly at a young age, will install a fear that their backs aren’t designed to cope with such a normal, everyday, task – which ins’t true.

There are obviously times and instances when children do develop back or neck pain. This can be caused by sustained postures (often technology related) and a lack of exercise of general movement. In these cases, specific education and increasing their awareness is a key part of helping them overcome any pain they are experiencing. Postural education may be a part of this.

It’s great that BackCare are are raising awareness of back issues in this campaign, but let’s keep the messages positive and not install a fear into young people that their backs might not be fit for the job!

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Healthy Holiday Guide

Posted on 21st July 2017 by

With schools winding down and the sun well & truly out, it’s time for many to pack their cases for that summer holiday!

You’d be surprised how many last minute panic calls we get from people desperate to see a physio before their holiday to have some help with their injury. So if you are carrying an injury and want to go away injury free so you can fully enjoy your holiday, get in touch now. Recovery can take time and you don’t want to be one of those people who say “I’ve had this months, I should have come sooner.” Which we hear all too often.

Holidays should be a time to relax and unwind. But the stress of packing and travelling can put holidaymakers at risk of picking up strains and sprains before they even hit the beach!

Holidays are about unwinding from all the stresses and strains of everyday life and undoing the sometimes harm we do to ourselves through the rest of the year,” goPhysio’s Clinical Director Paul says.

But “having to contend with masses to organise and a lengthy journey can often lead to awkward postures and doing things our bodies aren’t used to doing, which might cause or aggravate physical problems. Common holiday-related problems include back and neck injuries, as well as shoulder and wrist strains.

We forget we’re doing something out of the ordinary and that could include sitting for hours in cramped seats, queuing and lifting heavy bags. All that combined with high stress levels could mean putting our bodies under physical stresses we’re not accustomed to.”

Even the most simple holiday pleasures can create discomfort. For example, just going for a walk along the beach with bare feet or in the wrong footwear can lead to inflammation and pain in your knees, calves or feet, through over-stretched tendons and ligaments,” Paul says.

There are simple ways to avoid injury when doing activities that are not part of your usual every day routine.

Here’s some simple tips to avoid holiday injuries this year.

Packing a bag: Place your bag on a higher surface such as a bed, to avoid repeatedly bending over to pack. Break up your packing over a few weeks or days, so you’re spreading the preparation out and not rushing to do it quickly at the last minute, doing many repeated movements in a short space of time, which the body often doesn’t like.

Managing luggage: If you’re not used to lifting heavy items or your case is large or awkward, lift it with care. You can find yourself lifting a case many times on a journey (in/out of car boot, on/off luggage trolley, on/off check in and carousel etc.) which can take its’ toll. People often think of back problems associated with lifting, but we also see many people with wrist or shoulder injuries from travelling, having carted luggage and bags around. Minimise the amount of lifting you do as much as possible, choosing a case with wheels and not overpacking! If you’re travelling as part of a family, spread the load so you have more cases, with less weight in each. Try and choose light weight cases too, to lessen the burden. If you are lifting, use your powerful leg muscles to take much of the weight and keep the weight of the case close to your body – this just helps to minimise too much stress.

Standing in queues: There can be a lot of queuing when travelling. Use this opportunity to do some exercises! When standing and waiting, practise good posture. Stand up straight, with your tummy muscles pulled in and shoulders back and down. If you are standing for a very long time, stand as tall as possible and transfer weight from one leg to another to boost your circulation. Try some heel raises – going up and down on your tip toes, or mini squats. Circling your shoulders forwards and back and doing some neck stretches to ease any built up tension, can be good too.

Travelling: As well as standing in queues, you can spend a lot of time sitting down when traveling. When seated, try to sit with your buttocks pushed to the back of the seat. Make sure your lower back is well supported and you are not slumped. You can always take a small towel or lumbar roll with you if you like to have back support. If you are driving, ensure your position is as supported as possible and move the seat to make yourself comfortable. If you’re taking on a very long drive, read our guide to ‘Steering Clear of pain’ when driving. Whenever possible, break up your journey or get out of your seat and have a good walk around.

Holiday activities: Holiday’s can often be a chance to try out a new activity – whether it’s beach volleyball, extra long hikes, mountain climbing or surfing! If you’re trying something physical that’s out of the ordinary for you, start off gradually. Don’t go straight in 100% – especially if you’ve spent the last 6 months sat at a desk and the last 10 hours travelling! Having time to spend being more active is fantastic, but you don’t want to overdo it and pickup injury to spoil your holiday. Listen to your body and warm up for your activity suitably. Pace yourself and make sure you get time to rest in between too!

Most of all, whatever you have planned for this summer, enjoy yourself! If you can make some time for you and some rest and relaxation, away from the fast paced life so many of us now live.

If you do want to have an injury or niggle checked out before you go away, so you can really make the most of your time off – book in to see one of our Physio’s. Or maybe have a deep tissue sports massage before you go, so you start your holiday relaxed and tension free!

If you do pick up a holiday injury, you can book in to get sorted as soon as you return by using our easy and secure online booking system, available to you anywhere in the world 24/7 to book physiotherapy and massage appointments.

Happy Holidays!


New exercise class for back pain sufferers in Chandlers Ford

Posted on 17th May 2017 by

Back pain affects nearly everyone at some point in their life. After stress, back pain is the second most common reason for taking time off of work, with some 4 million working days lost through back pain every year. Unfortunately for some people, back pain can become a recurrent & persistent part of their life.

There isn’t always an obvious cause of back pain, and many factors such as poor posture, working conditions, driving and lifting can all contribute.

Research has shown though that staying physically active is the key to helping back pain. Recent guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend that regular physical activity & exercise in combination with education can help people manage their low back pain.

It is based on these guidelines that here at goPhysio, we have developed a new educational & exercise course called Active Backs.

Paul Baker, goPhysio’s Clinical Director, says

“So many people we see are afraid to move when they have back pain. They are scared they are going to cause more damage. As long as anything serious has been ruled out, movement is the key to helping improve your back pain in the long term.”

“All the research agrees that by being educated how to manage your back pain and learning how to exercise correctly, you will be able to gain confidence in using your back correctly. This will help you not only reduce your pain but also prevent it coming back again.”

The programme is thought to be the first one of it’s kind in the area. Classes are run every Tuesday from 11.15am – 12.15pm.

Active Backs will include both an educational element, covering weekly topics such as posture, coping strategies and relaxation. It will also include a weekly exercise circuit to help strengthen and stretch your muscles and improve your fitness. Through coming to Active Backs we aim to help you achieve your goals.

The course will be run by one of our dedicated Clinicians and numbers are limited to six, to ensure that everyone receive the individual attention they require. It is going to be held in our new ‘Strong Room’. fully equipped with resistance training, weights, balls and mats, and equipment designed to help you get the most from exercising for your spine.

For details on how to book, please take a look here. All bookings are easily managed online and you can have maximum flexibility with bookings and even combine with some yoga classes.

Read More 

Latest NICE guideline for back pain & sciatica

10 things you need to know about your back

Help I’ve got back pain, what should I do?


 


10 Things You Need To Know About Your Back

Posted on 4th May 2017 by

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) have today launched a great new campaign, ’10 Things You Need To Know About Your Back’.

Back pain research constantly gives new insights into previously held beliefs. Their new guide reflects these advances to give clear, simple advice on how to manage your pain and prevent future episodes.

Here’s the latest advice from the CSP:

  1. Your back is stronger than you may think Most people worldwide will experience back pain during their lifetime. It can be disabling and worrying but it is very common and rarely dangerous. The spine is a strong, stable structure and not easily damaged so in most instances it is a simple sprain or strain. In these cases – 98 per cent, according to research – people recover reasonably quickly, and many do so without treatment. Some people experience repeat episodes, which can be distressing, but again these are rarely dangerous.
  2. You rarely need a scan and it can do more harm than good
    This is because seeing perfectly normal changes to their spine can cause people to avoid the activities they should be doing to get better, such as exercise and movement in general. In very rare cases, there may be something more serious or underlying that requires medical advice. A scan may help with your diagnosis and symptoms to be aware of are at the bottom of this page. However, these account for just two per cent of cases so if your physio or GP does not send you for one, you should take it as a good sign that there is nothing concerning going on.
  3. Avoid bed rest, stay in work and gradually resume normal activities
    Scientific studies now indicate prolonged rest and avoidance of activity for people with low back pain actually leads to higher levels of pain, greater disability, poorer recovery and longer absence from work. In the first few days of a new episode of low back pain, avoiding aggravating activities may help to relive pain. However, staying as active as possible and returning to all usual activities gradually is actually important in aiding recovery – this includes staying in work where possible. While it is normal to move differently and more slowly in the first few days of having back pain, this altered movement can be unhealthy if continued in the long-term.
  4. You should not fear bending or lifting
    Bending and lifting are often portrayed as causes of back pain and while an injury can occur if something is picked up in an awkward or unaccustomed way, it’s most likely to just be a sprain or strain. The important thing is to practice and get your body used to carrying different loads and weights in a way we find comfortable and efficient. We all run differently, and it’s perfectly normal for us to find our own technique for lifting.
  5. Exercise and activity reduce and prevent back pain
    Exercise is shown to be very helpful for tackling back pain and is also the most effective strategy to prevent future episodes. Start slowly and build up both the amount and intensity of what you do and don’t worry if it’s sore to begin with – you won’t be damaging your back. No one type of exercise is proven to be more effective than others so just pick an exercise you enjoy, that you can afford to maintain in the long-term and that fits in with your daily schedule.
  6. Painkillers will not speed up your recovery
    There is no strong evidence on the benefits of painkillers and they do not speed up recovery. They should only be used in conjunction with other measures, such as exercise, and even then just as a short-term option as they can bring side effects. Exercise, which is safer and cheaper, is considered the preferred option.
  7. Surgery is rarely needed
    There are some uncommon back conditions where there is pressure on the nerves that supply the legs and the patient gets leg symptoms, such as pain, pins and needles or numbness. For these conditions, surgery can help the leg symptoms but it is important to understand that it is not always required. You also need to know that on average, the results for back surgery are no better in the medium and long term than non-surgical interventions, such as exercise. So a non-surgical option, which includes exercise and activity, should always come first.
  8. Get good quality sleep
    The importance of sleep in tackling back pain has become increasingly clear in recent years. This is because it reduces stress and improves your overall feeling of wellbeing, making you less susceptible to the triggers of pain in the first instance and helping you to cope when it does occur. Aim for 7.5-8 hours a night and try to aim for a regular routine, as far as possible. It is also very important to know that there is no best position or type of mattress – whatever feels most comfortable for you is best.
  9. You can have back pain without any damage or injury
    Many physical or psychological factors can cause back pain and often a combination of these are involved. Many factors can cause back pain and often a combination of these are involved. They could be– Physical factors, such as ‘protecting’ the back and avoiding movements, or a simple strain.
    – Psychological factors, including a fear of damage or not getting better, feeling down or being stressed.
    – More general health and lifestyle factors, like being tired and rundown, not getting enough good quality sleep, being overweight or not getting enough physical activity
    – Social triggers, such as difficult relationships at work or home, low job satisfaction or stressful life events, like a family death or illness. Crucially, it’s important to know that all pain is 100 per cent real and never ‘all in your head’, even when factors like stress or mood are involved. Each of the factors can turn up the volume on your pain and gaining a greater understanding of when that can happen puts you in a stronger position to recognise them and learn how to turn down the dial again.
  10. If it doesn’t clear up, seek help but don’t worry Physiotherapists provide expert advice, guidance and treatment for back pain. This is to help reduce your chances of future episodes, while improving your overall health and well-being.

At goPhysio, we offer a range of services to help you manage your back pain. 

Physiotherapy – If you want reassurance and help to become more confident with your back, physiotherapy can help. We can provide expert guidance and treatment for your back pain, tailored to you and your lifestyle. You can book an appointment online or give us a call on 023 8025 3317.

Clinical Pilates – Our specialist Pilates classes are a great way to keep you strong and active. They focus on building strength and flexibility and being able to move well. The classes are small and you will be under the close supervision of one of our Therapists at all times. We run 17 classes a week, including evenings and weekends, at a variety of levels, so it’s easy to find a class to suit you. Have a look at our latest timetable.

Yoga Classes – Our onsite Yoga classes are another great way to get you moving. We offer a range of different styles of yoga, including a gentle and restorative class for beginners to a more challenging Himalayan Hatha class. Bookings are made easily online, you can find out more about booking here.

Active Backs – Our Active Backs classes are supervised exercise classes, specially designed for people who have or have had back pain. The classes will help build your confidence in exercising and are combined with education and advice to empower you. These classes can be booked online.

Symptoms to be aware of:

These symptoms are very rare but you should contact a doctor if you experience any of them:

  • Difficulty passing urine or having the sensation to pass water that is not there
  • Numbness/tingling in your genitals or buttocks area
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Impaired sexual function, such as loss of sensation during intercourse
  • Loss of power in your legs
  • Feeling unwell with your back pain, such as a fever or significant sweating that wakes you from sleep

Read More:

Low back pain and sciatica, the latest NICE guidelines

Help, I’ve got back pain! What should I do?

Back Pain Myths

 

 


Avoid Bank Holiday Gardening Pains

Posted on 10th April 2017 by

With the 4 day Easter weekend upon us and coinciding with National Gardening Week, it’s that time of year to get out in that garden, tackle those Avoid gardening painweeds and start to prepare for the nicer weather – whether it’s out of choice or because someone has nagged you to do it!

Here are our top tips to avoid injury, whether you’re gardening, painting the shed or washing the patio!

Warm up before starting

You wouldn’t go for a run or start a gym workout without warming up your body – so make sure you do the same before you start work. Go for a brisk walk around the garden, get the blood circulating round your body & do a few gentle stretches to loosen your muscles before you start that weeding!

Cool down when you finish

Same as tip number one – make sure you wind down to a stop and do some more gentle stretches when you finish to stop your muscles stiffening up after your activity. Don’t just sit down and admire your hard work (as tempting as it might be!).

Pace yourself!

With a 4 day weekend, it’s tempting to do all the work in one day to keep the rest of your time free – but this could lead to overworked and over strained muscles and joints. Spread your jobs out evenly over the weekend and build up to the harder jobs.

Variety is key

Try to avoid spending time in prolonged positions – by varying your tasks, you will limit the strain you put on each body part. For example, do 30 minutes of weeding, 30 minutes of digging and then 30 minutes of mowing the lawn. Put some mini breaks in between each job to have a rest, stretch and drink.

Avoid twisting

Keep your feet facing the same way as your hips and shoulders – this stops any rotational strain through your body. Stand straight as you mow the lawn or push a wheelbarrow and keep everything you need close by to avoid twisting to reach it.

Keep everything at the correct height

If you are working at a bench, make sure you don’t have to crouch or stretch to reach it – this could put extra strain on your back. If you’re working at a height, use a ladder or step to stop straining your neck by looking up for long periods.

Lift with your knees, not your back

When lifting heavy objects, make sure to bend your hips and knees to help support your back. Holding the object closer to your body will also help reduce any extra strain – so make sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty!

If you do injur yourself – don’t panic! Have a look back at our previous blogs on using heat vs ice and the ‘POLICE’ method of self treatment. If in doubt, give our friendly Patient Care Team a call and book an appointment with one of Physiotherapists at goPhysio. We’ll be able to assess, diagnose and treat any injury and give you the best advice on how to treat and prevent another episode!

You can also book an appointment online over the bank holiday.


 


Low Back Pain & Sciatica – The Latest NICE Guidelines

Posted on 20th January 2017 by

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently published new guidelines on best management of low back pain. This includes both people with ‘simple’ back pain (localised to the back) and those with referred pain (sciatica) which can affect the nerves down one leg. These guidelines are based on latest evidence and expert analysis of what is the best course of action for people with low back pain.

Here’s how we’re putting them into practice at goPhysio

Assessment

When you come to see us with back pain we will do a thorough assessment by asking a number of questions to find out more about your pain and to rule out any ‘red flag’ conditions. These red flags can indicate serious pathology such as cancer, infection, trauma, inflammatory conditions or Cauda Equina Syndrome. Thankfully these conditions are rare but if we have any suspicion we will referral you on to the appropriate speciality for further investigations without delay.

We will do a complete back examination to assess how the joints, muscles and nerves are functioning. We know there are a number of factors that can influence your recovery both positively and negatively so our staff are undergoing further training on use of the STarT Back Risk Assessment tool. This will help us identify those who are at risk of poorer outcomes and ensure that we tailor our treatment to address these factors.

Treatment

Self-management education is a vital aspect of treatment for any patient. We help you to understand why you have pain and what steps you can take to reduce it – both during an acute flare up of pain but also long term strategies or simple changes you can make to your lifestyle which will help your back.

Your treatment will vary depending on the nature and cause of your pain, how severe it is and a variety of individual factors. Physiotherapy treatment may include manual therapy such as joint mobilisations or massage, alongside a personal exercise programme and advice on pain relief.

Research has shown that anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID’s) such as Ibruprofen or Naproxen are much better than paracetamol for back pain, however, for people that are unable to take NSAID’s or that find them ineffective, weak opioid medications such as Co-codamol can be recommended for simple back pain.

For acute sciatica your GP may recommend stronger ‘neuropathic’ pain medications which are much better for nerve pain (tingling/burning/shooting pain). Please note all medications have side effects and can interact with other medications you are already on or other conditions that you may have so please check with your GP or a pharmacist before taking any new medication.

What happens if you are not responding to treatment?

For acute sciatica you may be referred on to a spinal consultant, who in more severe cases can consider epidural injections or a spinal decompression surgery. However it is important to remember that this is never a first course of action as most episodes of sciatica resolve within 6-12 weeks. Your physio will help you decide when it is appropriate to be referred on depending on how you respond and recover.

Sometimes there are psychological factors affecting your rehabilitation such as depression, anxiety or other mood disorders. In this case your physio may recommend that you are referred on to a psychologist for cognitive-behavioural therapy. This is because we know that people with negative mood and health beliefs rarely respond well to usual treatment without first addressing these factors.

So if your pain is persistent or not responding to usual treatment it is important to seek professional help.

What about x-rays and scans?

X-rays are no longer routine for lower back pain unless there is the suspicion of a fracture (such as after a severe trauma or in people with osteoporosis). This is because it exposes you to radiation but does not often provide any useful information on how we should best treat your back. Likewise MRI’s are only needed to rule out serious spinal pathology or to help a consultant identify if a nerve in your back is being significantly compressed to warrant injection or surgery. The vast majority of this information your physio will be able to deduct from a thorough assessment.

Once an acute episode of back pain has eased off, we recommend continuing with exercise to help keep any further recurrences at bay. Research indicates that any form of exercise is great for people who’ve had back pain – being active and moving helps! many of our patients go on to our specialist Pilates classes. These are particularly beneficial as they are taken by our Physiotherapists, so they are well equipped to deal with any concerns or issues you may have with your back and can modify and progress the exercises for you individually. The classes are also small, so you aren’t lost in a sea of people struggling – you get individual care and attention. We run 16 classes a week, so there’s plenty of choice to fit in with your weekly commitments.

NICE back pain

If you’re suffering with back pain and want some peace of mind and reassurance that it’s nothing serious and help to get on the road to recovery, come and see one of our Physio’s at goPhysio. We make it easy for you, with appointments available 8am – 8pm and Saturday mornings, we can normally offer you an appointment within 24 hours, if not the same day. Just call one of our friendly Patient Services Team on 023 8025 3317 or book an appointment online.


16 Days To Go – Spiky Ball Countdown Giveaway & Some Great Exercises!

Posted on 3rd December 2016 by

Today we are giving away one of our favourites – a spiky ball! This ball can work wonders for easing off tight, sore muscles and areas of tension.

Ball Back Release 

This is a great exercise if you sit at a desk or drive a lot. It really helps to loosen up a stiff back and counteract the affects of being hunched over.

  1. ball-releaseSit at the wall with the ball at the bottom of the stiff upper back curve, feet planted firmly on the ground. Place your hands on your breastbone to guide the lift.
  2. Keeping the chin tucked, lift up with the breastbone to lever up over the ball. The head should move towards the wall ball-relesae-2because of the lift, but not because the neck has arched back.
  3. You can use a bit of a push up through the feet to encourage the lift.
  4. After loosening one level, move the tennis balls up a level and repeat. You can continue up to the top level of the upper back, but not into the low neck.

Plantar Fasciitis Ball Massage 

We often recommend self massage for the common foot complaint, plantar fasciitis. It really helps release the tightness and ease discomfort. Heres how:

planatr-fascia-ball

  1. Stand up and step on a hard ball with the foot.
  2.  Move the ball under your foot to find tender spots.
  3. Once you are on a tender spot, hold the position while applying pressure. You can hold the position as recommended to release the trigger point.
  4. Next, move to another tender area.

 


For your chance to win a very useful spiky ball, like or follow us on social media and share this post!


5 Tips for Working at your laptop pain-free

Posted on 9th November 2016 by

Flexible working, working on the move, working from home and the advances in technology mean that more and more people use a laptop for their work. But ergonomically, laptops aren’t great for working on and overtime can cause issues.

So, here’s a few tips to help keep back, neck, shoulder and arm pain at bay.

  1. Use a laptop riser. There are multiple types available varying from small and inexpensive to large and more expensive. This will allow you to adjust your screen height to the correct level preventing back and neck pain.
  2. Get a separate keyboard. This will allow you to have your screen at the correct height without compromising on optimal keyboard level. A wireless keyboard is often a better option as it avoids being restrictive due to cables.
  3. Work at an adjustable desk allowing you to sit or stand. Recently, there have been desk risers released which sit on top of a normal desk, are height adjustable themselves and have separate spaces for both your keyboard and mouse, and laptop enabling correct posture when using all equipment.
  4. Posture – sitting and standing upright while looking straight ahead will reduce the risk of back and neck injuries which arise from prolonged periods of poor posture.
  5. Try using the keyboard and its shortcuts more than the tracker pad or mouse. This will reduce the risk of overuse injury to your shoulder and arm.

Lap top ergonomics


Clear Your Leaves with Care: Top Tips for Autumnal Gardening

Posted on 28th October 2016 by

Clear your leaves with careIt’s that time of year and you can’t avoid the carpet of leaves that covers our paths, gardens and walks. Many of the areas of fallen leaves can look beautiful and are an enjoyable part of this season. But inevitably they may need to be dealt with or cleared.

Over recent weeks on my travels in and around the very leafy suburb of Chandlers Ford, I’ve seen people mid leaf clearing. On more than one occasion my natural physio though process has screamed inside my head ‘caution – injury risk’!!

With the weekend upon us, I thought it may be wise to share some tips on how to protect your body and minimise any risk of picking up an injury if you’re planning on taking part in leaf clearing this weekend.

Tackle it in short bursts.

Don’t go out and try and clear large areas all in one go, Set a time limit, clear what you can and then go and do another activity for a while to take a break. Then return to it and do another short burst. Keep on top of the job over the autumn so you’re not clearing such a huge amount in one go.

Avoid bending forwards.

Postures like this place an immense amount of strain on your back, particularly if it’s repeated over and over again in a repetitive, lengthy task like picking up leaves.

Get help.

Share the task if you can, get the kids or grandchildren involved to get the job done quicker and share the physical burden.

Use the right tools.

A rake or broom is probably the simplest way or clearing leaves, moving the leaves into large piles and then using a shovel to lift into a wheelbarrow or bin for disposal.. Again, this is easier if you can have help to share the load. This technique is OK for small areas but if you have large areas to clear there are lots of other gadgets that can help. Leaf blowers are often seen being used. These can be great if you can blow them into an area like a compost that they won’t need to be moved or picked up. But if you still have to pick them up once they’re piled, you need to take care. Leaf blowers can be light weight but it’s still better to tackle in sort bursts to minimise any injury risk. You can also get lawn vacuums now, that will collect the leaves efficiently.

Think about your posture. 

If you do have to physically handle the leaves, it’s good to have in mind how a small child would naturally approach the task. They will instinctively crouch down, using their knees to bend to get close to the ground. As long as you haven’t got hip or knee issues, using the power of the large muscles in your legs to crouch down and collect the leaves will help protect your back.

Listen to your body. 

If you start to get a little niggle, your body will be feeling the physical strain of the task you are doing. Take a rest and give your body chance to recover. Don’t ignore pain, it’s a warning sign. Tackle the job again when the pain subsides. If you pick up more of a serious injury that does’t ease, seek professional advice. Gardening is a great form of activity but it can be very physically demanding.

Approach it like you would a sporting activity, ease in gradually, warm up for the task and don’t overdo it. Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful season!


BackCare Awareness Week 2016

Posted on 3rd October 2016 by

This week, 3rd – 8th October 2016 is BackCare Awareness Week. The focus this year is ‘Caring for Back care Awareness WeekCarers’.

Carers provide invaluable help and assistance to their children, friends, relatives, and partners. It is estimated that there are around 7 million unpaid carers in the UK.

But what happens when their work leads to back pain, compromising their ability to care?

Back pain is endemic among carers: a 2011 survey found that 70% of carers experienced back and shoulder pain. This issue seriously affects the quality of life of those who should be most valued in our society, as well as impacting on their caregiving work, which saves the NHS and local authorities very significant sums of money.

BackCare Charity aims to significantly reduce the burden of back pain by providing information and education to all people and organisations affected by back pain and to fund scientific research into the causes, prevention and management of back pain.

If you’re a carer, you can download BackCare’s publication ‘A Carer’s Guid to the Safe Moving and Handling of People’.

Our Top Tips for a Healthy Back

  1. Try and exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be specific back exercises, walking, swimming, yoga, Pilates – any regular movement will help to strengthen your back muscles. Pilates is an ideal form of exercise for all ages and strengthens your core muscles that support your spine.
  2. If you do feel some back pain, keep active and moving. Take a look at a previous blog for more advice as to what to do if you do get some back pain.
  3. Get specialist training on manual handling techniques to make sure you protect yourself and the person you are caring for. Use appropriate equipment to help you whenever possible but again, make sure you have the right training to use it correctly.
  4. Think about your posture. Avoid slumping or staying in 1 position for extended lengths of time. This puts undue stress on your body which can lead to issues.
  5. Rotate and pace your caring tasks if you can, break up heavier tasks with lighter ones or alternate with a walk. If you can get help to share your responsibilities or can find the opportunity to take a break, accept this help. Your body needs a chance to recover too.

If you do suffer with back pain, either a long term recurring problem or a severe one off episode, please do get in touch with us. We can help find out what’s going on and provide a comprehensive treatment programme to help your recovery and more important help you become more resilient to back pain in the future.